George Galloway

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George Galloway featured on BBC Newsnight

George Galloway (born 16 August 1954) is a British politician, and the Respect Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow in East London. He was previously a Member of Parliament for the Labour Party, representing the Glasgow constituencies of Hillhead (1987-1997) and Kelvin (1997-2005), but he was expelled from the Labour Party in October 2003 because of controversial statements he made about the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Together with some other opponents of that war, in January 2004 he formed a new political party, RESPECT The Unity Coalition, and was returned to Parliament as its candidate in the 2005 general election.

Contents

Early and personal life

Galloway was born in Dundee, Scotland. After attending the Harris Academy, he worked for a garden centre and then for Michelin tyres. In 1977 he was appointed as a Labour Party organiser, and became well-known in Scottish Labour politics for his powerful speeches. He was elected to the Scottish Labour Executive - the senior body within the Labour Party in Scotland, and in 1980 at the age of 26 he became Chairman of the Scottish Labour Party, one of the youngest in history.

Galloway was married from 1979 to 1999 to Elaine Fyffe, with whom he has a daughter. In 2000 he married Dr. Amireh Abu-Zayyad, a Muslim Palestinian academic. She is currently in the process of filing for divorce, alleging that Galloway has been unfaithful throughout the marriage. Galloway has stated that "I didnít show my wife the respect she deserves", but he insists that the allegations should not be taken at face value. He says that "Two women and a man have been calling my wife incessantly for the past year, telling her stories about me and other women", and that he was genuinely astonished to learn that his wife was filing for divorce.

Parliamentary career

Member of Parliament, Glasgow

Galloway was selected as Labour candidate for the Glasgow Hillhead seat formerly held by Roy Jenkins of the SDP. He ran for the Labour Party National Executive Committee in 1986 but came in next to last; at the 1986 Labour Party Conference he made a strong attack on Shadow Chancellor Roy Hattersley for not favouring exchange controls.

In the 1987 election, Galloway won Glasgow Hillhead with a majority of 3,251. He faced an almost immediate scandal when, as part of the War on Want expenses probe, he was asked about a conference on Mykonos, Greece and replied:

"I travelled to and spent lots of time with people in Greece, many of whom were women, some of whom were known carnally to me. I actually had sexual intercourse with some of the people in Greece."

The statement put Galloway on the front pages of the tabloid press, eclipsing questions about War on Want's finances, and the executive committee of Galloway's Constituency Labour Party passed a vote of no confidence in him in February 1988. He only narrowly survived to win reselection in June 1989.

In 1990, a classified advertisement appeared in the Labour left weekly Tribune headed "Lost: MP who answers to the name of George", "balding and has been nicknamed gorgeous", claiming that the lost MP had been seen in Romania but had not been to a constituency meeting for a year. A telephone number was given which turned out to be for the Groucho Club in London, from which Galloway had been blackballed. Galloway threatened legal action and said that he had been to five constituency meetings. He eventually settled for an out-of-court payment by Tribune.

In the 1997 and 2001 elections Galloway was the Labour candidate for the safe Labour seat of Glasgow Kelvin, winning with majorities of over 16,000 and 12,000 respectively. By the 2005 election, the seat had disappeared in the redrawing of Scottish constituencies, as a result of which Galloway chose to stand in Bethnal Green and Bow (see below).

Expulsion from the Labour Party

In a 28 March 2003 interview with Abu Dhabi TV, Galloway said Tony Blair and George W. Bush had "lied to the British Air Force and Navy, when they said the battle of Iraq would be very quick and easy. They attacked Iraq like wolves...." and added, "... the best thing British troops can do is to refuse to obey illegal orders." The latter remark briefly led to suggestions that he might be prosecuted for treason under the Incitement to Disaffection Act of 1934[1] (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,944392,00.html). His most controversial statement, which two days led to a Sun headline, "MP blasted over 'kill Brits' call", could be read as inciting attacks on British forces in Iraq: "Iraq is fighting for all the Arabs. Where are the Arab armies?". His additional comment that "... even if it is not realistic to ask a non-Iraqi army to come to defend Iraq, we see Arab regimes pumping oil for the countries who are attacking it," implied that he would have at least liked to have seen a fuel embargo.Template:NamedRef

On April 18, The Sun published an interview with Tony Blair in which he said "His comments were disgraceful and wrong. The National Executive will deal with it," although it was not until after the Daily Telegraph published its corruption allegations on 22 April (for which Galloway later successfully sued for libel - see below) that the Labour Party acted against Galloway. Citing Galloway's comments regarding the Iraq war, the General Secretary of the Labour Party suspended him on 6 May 2003 pending a hearing on charges that he had violated the party's constitution by "bringing the Labour Party into disrepute through behaviour that is prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Party". The National Constitutional Committee held a hearing on 22 October 2003 to consider the charges, taking evidence from Galloway himself, from other party witnesses, viewing media interviews, and hearing character testimony from (among others) veteran Labour MP and ex-minister Tony Benn. The following day, the committee found the charge of bringing the party into disrepute proved, and expelled Galloway from the Labour Party. Galloway called the Committee's hearing "a show trial" and "a kangaroo court".Template:NamedRef

2005 election

Template:Wikinews In 2004 Galloway announced he would be working with the Socialist Alliance and others under the name RESPECT The Unity Coalition, generally referred to simply as Respect. Many commentators were surprised by this development since he has a track record of antipathy toward Trotskyists, and the largest component of Respect is the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party. He stood for this party in London in the 2004 European Parliament elections, but failed to pick up a seat after receiving 91,175 of the 115,000 votes he needed.

Galloway's Glasgow Kelvin constituency was split between three different constituencies at the May 2005 general election. After his expulsion, he had initially fuelled speculation that he might call a snap by-election before then, by resigning his parliamentary seat, saying

"If I were to resign this constituency and there was a by-election I can't guarantee that I would win, but I would guarantee that Tony Blair's candidate would surely lose."

Galloway later announced that he would not force a by-election and intended not to contest the next general election in Glasgow. Owing to the boundary changes, the Labour candidate in the new Glasgow Central constituency, which could have been his most likely chance, was his long-time friend Mohammad Sarwar, the first Muslim Labour MP and a strong opponent of the war, and Galloway did not wish to challenge him. After the European election results became known, Galloway announced that he would stand in Bethnal Green & Bow, the area where Respect had its strongest election results and where the sitting Labour MP, Oona King, supported the war. On 2 December, despite speculation that he might stand in Newham, he confirmed that he was to be the candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow.

The ensuing electoral campaign proved to be a rocky one; on 21 April 2005, it was reported by the BBC [2] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/frontpage/4467147.stm) that he had been threatened with death by extreme Islamists and threatened with a fatwa. He united with King to call for respect for democracy in the campaign.

On May 5th, 2005, he won the constituency and made a fiery speech, saying that Tony Blair had the blood of 100,000 people on his hands and denouncing the returning officer. When challenged in a subsequent Jeremy Paxman interview as to whether he was happy to have removed one of the "few black women in parliament" (referring to Oona King, Lab.), he replied by asking if it would not be better to congratulating him for "one of the most sensational election results in modern history?". Pushed further, he refused to say any more than "I don't believe that people get elected because of the colour of their skin. I believe people get elected because of their record and because of their policies. So move on to your next question."Template:NamedRef. In rare agreement with Galloway, King later told the Today programme that she found Paxman's line of question inappropriate "He shouldn't be barred from running against me because I'm a black woman ... I was not defined, or wish to be defined, by my ethnicity". Template:NamedRef

Galloway had remarked in during the course of the election that King was responsible for "the deaths of many people in Iraq with blacker faces than hers" in response to questions over whether he should stand against one of Britain's few black female MPs. Immediately following this interview, it was also suggested that by running in this constituency Galloway was carpetbagging.

On election night, Galloway accused the returning officer, Christine Gilbert, of presiding over a shambles "which would disgrace a banana republic", referring to various difficulties, such as a block of flats being left off the electoral register and implying possible fraud aimed at preventing him from winning.

Parliamentary participation statistics

According to "They Work For You.com" (http://www.theyworkforyou.com), as of May 6th, 2005*, George Galloway had:

  • Spoken in 0 debates in the last year — tied for last, out of 659 MPs.
  • Asked 0 written questions in the last year — in a large multi-way tie for last, out of 659 MPs.
  • Attended 3% of votes in parliament — 649th out of 657 MPs.
  • In the 1997–2001 parliament Galloway voted against the majority of his party in 5 votes out of 665 (0.8%), and in the following Parliament prior to his expulsion from Labour, did so in 27 votes out of 209 (12.9%).

Although he may not be one of the most active parliamentarians, he is an unusually active politician at "grass roots" level having made, in his own estimate, 1,100 public speeches between September 2001 and May 2005. Template:NamedRef

War on Want

In 1983 Galloway became General Secretary of the charity War On Want (founded by Harold Wilson), which had strong Labour Party connections. He increased its income sevenfold in three years, but faced accusations of misuse of his expenses account, which was £21,000 in 1985-86, to stay in luxury hotels when on foreign trips. He paid back £1,720 after an audit identified a lack of controls, but was cleared of any dishonesty. War On Want was found to have been insolvent, and subsequently dismissed all its staff and went into administration. It was rescued and relaunched in 1991.


Political views

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Galloway at CND demonstration in Edinburgh

Galloway has a reputation as a fiery left-winger and advocates for redistribution of wealth, greater spending on welfare benefits, and extensive nationalisation of large industries. He opposes Scottish independence and supports the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. As a practising Roman Catholic, he is personally opposed to abortion, although he supports Respect's pro-choice stance. He also supported the equalisation of the age of consent for homosexuality. As a Labour MP, he was a member of the Socialist Campaign Group. In the 2001 Parliament, he voted against the whip 27 times, placing him as the 9th most rebellious MP.

Galloway has attracted most attention for his comments on foreign policy, taking a special interest in Libya, Pakistan, Iraq, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. His support for the Palestinian cause began in 1974 when he met a Palestinian activist in Dundee; he converted the rest of the Dundee Labour Party which flew the Palestinian flag over the Town Hall and twinned the city with Nablus. [3] (http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,941506,00.html)

In an interview with the Guardian [4] (http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,792765,00.html), Galloway outlined his political views in relation to the Soviet Union:

"I am on the anti-imperialist left." The Stalinist left? "I wouldn't define it that way because of the pejoratives loaded around it; that would be making a rod for your own back. If you are asking did I support the Soviet Union, yes I did. Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life. If there was a Soviet Union today, we would not be having this conversation about plunging into a new war in the Middle East, and the US would not be rampaging around the globe." Template:NamedRef

Iraq

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In the late 1970s, Galloway was a founding member of the Campaign Against Repression and for Democratic Rights in Iraq (CARDRI), which campaigned against Saddam Hussein's regime in response to its suppression of the Iraqi Communist Party. He was critical of America and Britain's later role in supporting Saddam during the Iran-Iraq War and was involved in protests at Iraq's cultural centre in London in the 1980s.

Galloway opposed the 1991 Gulf War and was critical of the effect the subsequent sanctions had on the people of Iraq. He visited Iraq several times and met senior government figures. His involvement earned him the nickname the "member for Baghdad Central". In 1994, Galloway faced some of his strongest criticism on his return from a Middle-Eastern visit during which he had met Saddam Hussein ostensibly "to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war". At the meeting, he reported the support given to Saddam by the people of the Gaza Strip and infamously ended his speech with the phrase "Sir: I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability."[5] (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Galloway)

In the speech (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Galloway), Galloway clearly is addressing Saddam in support of his fight against U.N. sanctions, the policies of the U.S. and U.K. governments, and Israel ("hatta al-nasr, hatta al-nasr, hatta al-Quds [preceding words in Arabic which mean until victory, until victory, until Jerusalem]"). When later pressed to explain why he would make such a speech, he said that it was for the benefit of the Iraqi people, collectively, and expressed regret over the flattering remarks within the speech directed at the Iraqi dictator.

In 1999, Galloway was criticised for spending Christmas in Iraq with Tariq Aziz, the then Deputy Prime Minister. In the May 17, 2005 hearing of the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Galloway admitted to "many" meetings with Tariq Aziz, "more than ten," and characterized their relationship as "friendly". An archived version is available. [6] (http://www.senate.gov/~gov_affairs/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.Detail&HearingID=232)

In a House of Commons debate on March 6, 2002, Foreign Office Minister Ben Bradshaw said of Galloway that he "had ... made a career of being not just an apologist, but a mouthpiece, for the Iraqi regime over many years." Galloway called the Minister a liar and refused to withdraw, resulting in the suspension of the sitting. Bradshaw later withdrew his allegation, and Galloway apologised for using unparliamentary language. Later in 2002 Galloway returned to Iraq, where he met Saddam Hussein for a second time; according to Galloway, the intention of the trip was to try and persuade Hussein to re-admit Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country.

Giving evidence in his 2004 libel trial (see below), Galloway insisted that he had been a prominent member of organisations that campaigned against Saddam Hussein's regime in the 1980s, when he was critical of the role the government of Margaret Thatcher took in arming and supporting Saddam. Given that his pro-Saddam statements did not occur until after the Gulf War in 1991 this was not proof that his feelings may not have changed. However, he has recently stated that he regarded Saddam as a "bestial dictator" and would have welcomed his removal from power, but not by means of a military attack on Iraq. Veteran leftwing Labour MP Tam Dalyell commented in April 2003, during the controversy preceding Galloway's expulsion from the Labour Party, that ""There is a history here. In the mid-1980s there was only one MP that I can recollect making speeches about human rights in Iraq and this was George Galloway."[7] (http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,941506,00.html)

Views on Blair and Bush

At the national conference of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, on June 30, 2003, he apologised for describing George Bush as a "wolf", saying that to do so defamed wolves:

"No wolf would commit the sort of crimes against humanity that George Bush committed against the people of Iraq."

On November 20, 2004, George Galloway gave an interview on Abu-Dhabi TV in which he said:

"The people who invaded and destroyed Iraq and have murdered more than a million Iraqi people by sanctions and war will burn in Hell in the hell-fires, and their name in history will be branded as killers and war criminals for all time. Fallujah is a Guernica, Falluaja is a Stalingrad, and Iraq is in flames as a result of the actions of these criminals. Not the resistance, not anybody else but these criminals who invaded and fell like wolves upon the people of Iraq. And by the way, those Arab regimes which helped them to do it will burn in the same hell-fires."[8] (http://www.memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=372)

Reactions

Galloway was nicknamed "Gorgeous George" following an anonymous advertisement attacking him in 1989 in the Labour Party's Tribune magazine.

In May 2002, at the Cambridge Union, American actor John Malkovich stated that he would like to shoot both George Galloway and the journalist Robert Fisk. On being told of this, Galloway responded "if it was a joke it is not very funny and if it wasn't a joke, he will be hearing from my lawyers".

Corruption allegations

Mariam Appeal

In 1998 Galloway founded the Mariam Appeal, intended "to campaign against sanctions on Iraq which are having disastrous effects on the ordinary people of Iraq". The campaign was named after Mariam Hamza, a single child flown by the fund from Iraq to Britain to receive treatment for leukaemia. The intention was to raise awareness of the suffering and death of tens of thousands of other Iraqi children due to lack of suitable medicines and facilities, and to campaign for the lifting of the western sanctions that Galloway maintained were responsible for that situation. The campaign won Galloway press coverage, first positive then increasingly negative, as allegations arose that funds were misappropriated and used to pay his wife and driver.

The fund was at the centre of a further scrutiny during the 2003 Gulf war, with allegations of lavish spending on Galloway's regular trips to the Middle East, including first class travel, luxury hotel accommodation, and consumption of expensive champagne and caviar. Galloway, however, denied that he had misused any funds raised for the Mariam Appeal and pointed out that it was not unreasonable for money from a campaign fund to be used to pay for the travel expenses of campaigners. Although the Mariam Appeal was never a registered charity and never intended to be such, it was investigated by the Charity Commission. The report of this year-long inquiry, published in June 2004, found that the Mariam Appeal was doing charitable work (and so should properly have been registered with them), but rejected the allegations that any funds had been misused:

"The commission's thorough inquiry found no evidence to suggest that the large amounts of money given to the Mariam Appeal were not properly used." [9] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3847287.stm)

During Galloway's May 17, 2005 testimony before a Senate committee regarding allegations of illegally allocated oil vouchers, Galloway relied upon the Charity Commission's findings as going "one better" than an investigation into specific improprieties. Soon after the hearing the Charity Commission released a statement (http://www.a2mediagroup.com/?c=49&a=5192&sid=ca813415e90dc1b7b8815fc27af97357) [also here (http://www.gnn.gov.uk/environment/detail.asp?ReleaseID=156759&NewsAreaID=2&NavigatedFromDepartment=True)]:

While we were able to review income and expenditure from the bank statements of the Appeal, which we had to obtain using our legal powers direct from banks, we were not able to verify all aspects of expenditure because of the lack of proper documentation. However, we found no evidence that the funds of the Appeal were misapplied (other than the payment of some unauthorised benefits to trustees which were made in good faith).

It also rebuts Galloway's assertion that the report necessarily precludes any possibility of illicit oil dealings:

Our inquiry did not find evidence of donations direct from oil companies but noted that one of the major funders of the Appeal was Fawaz Zuriekat, an individual named on 12 May 2005 by the US Senate Sub-Committee as allegedly connected with payments in relation to allocations of oil under the Iraq Oil for Food Programme. We have no evidence to show that the income received by the Fund from Mr Zuriekat came from an improper source. But had the recent allegations been known to us at the time of our inquiry, we would have made the information available to the appropriate UK authorities for them to decide whether the Mariam Appeal had received funds from an illegal source.

Oil for Food

Daily Telegraph

On April 22, 2003, the Daily Telegraph published an article describing documents which the paper claimed had been found by its reporter David Blair in the ruins of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. The documents purport to be records of meetings between Galloway and Iraqi intelligence agents, and state that he had received £375,000 per year from the proceeds of the Oil for Food programme [10] (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/04/22/ngall22.xml). Galloway completely denied the story, insisting that the documents were forgeries, and pointing to the questionable nature of the discovery within an unguarded bombed-out building. He instigated legal action against the newspaper, which was heard in the High Court from November 14, 2004 (HQ03X0206, George Galloway MP vs. Telegraph Group Ltd.) On December 2, Justice David Eady ruled that the story had been "seriously defamatory", and that the Telegraph was "obliged to compensate Mr Galloway... and to make an award for the purposes of restoring his reputation". Galloway was awarded £150,000 damages plus costs estimated to total £1.2 million. In UK libel cases, the winning party is also normally awarded costs, with the loser paying the bill. The court did not grant leave to appeal; in order to appeal in the absence of leave, the defendants would have to petition the House of Lords.

The libel case was regarded by both sides as an important test of the Reynolds qualified-privilege defence [11] (http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/1999/45.html). The Daily Telegraph did not attempt to claim justification (a defence in which the defendant bears the onus of proving that the defamatory reports are true): "It has never been the Telegraph's case to suggest that the allegations contained in these documents are true" [12] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/4061165.stm). Instead, the paper sought to argue that it acted responsibly because the allegations it reported were of sufficient public interest to outweigh the damage caused to Galloway's reputation. However, the court ruled that "It was the defendants' primary case that their coverage was no more than 'neutral reportage' ... but the nature, content and tone of their coverage cannot be so described."

The Daily Telegraph has not published any investigation as to whether their documents were genuine, but a 2005 US senate report [13] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/11_05_05_psi_report.pdf) comments that the original article "apparently included forged documents".

Others

The Christian Science Monitor also published a story on April 25, 2003 stating that they had documentary evidence that he had received "more than ten million dollars" from the Iraqi regime. However, on June 20, 2003, the Monitor reported that their own investigation had concluded the documents were sophisticated forgeries (http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0620/p01s03-woiq.html), and apologised. Galloway rejected the newspaper's apology, asserted that the affair was a conspiracy against him, and continued a libel claim against the paper. The Christian Science Monitor settled the claim, paying him an undisclosed sum in damages, on March 19, 2004. [14] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3549679.stm) [15] (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1174073,00.html) It emerged that these documents had first been offered to the Daily Telegraph, but they had rejected them. The documents' origin remains obscure.

In January 2004 a further set of allegations were made in al-Mada, a newspaper in Iraq. The newspaper claimed to have found documents in the Iraqi national oil corporation showing that Galloway received (through an intermediary) some of the profits arising from the sale of 19.5 million barrels (3,100,000 m³) of oil. Galloway acknowledged that money had been paid into the Mariam Appeal by Iraqi businessmen who had profited from the UN-run programme, but denied benefiting personally, and pointed out that, in any case, there was nothing illicit about this:

"It is hard to see what is dishonourable, let alone "illicit", about Arab nationalist businessmen donating some of the profits they made from legitimate UN-controlled business with Iraq to anti-sanctions campaigns, as opposed to, say, keeping their profits for themselves."

The report of the Iraq Survey Group published in October 2004 claimed that Galloway was one of the recipients of a fund used by Iraq to buy influence among foreign politicians. Galloway denied receiving any money from Saddam Hussein's regime.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards had begun an investigation into George Galloway but suspended it when Galloway launched legal action. On December 14 it was announced that this investigation would resume.

US Senate

Allegations

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Evidence presented to the Committee (contract M/9/23); George Galloway's name appears next to Fawaz Zurayqat in a different font and at an angle to the rest of the text on that line

In May 2005 a US Senate report [16] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/11_05_05_psi_report.pdf) from a committee chaired by Republican senator Norm Coleman accused Galloway along with former French minister Charles Pasqua of receiving the right to buy oil under the UN's oil-for-food scheme. The report cites further documents from the Iraqi oil ministry, and interviews with Iraqi officials. No comment is made on whether the documents have been investigated for evidence of forgery.

Coleman's committee said Pasqua had received allocations worth 11 million barrels from 1999 to 2000, and Galloway received allocations worth 20 million barrels from 2000 to 2003. The allegations against Pasqua and Galloway, both outspoken opponents of U.N. sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s, have been made before, including in an October report by U.S. arms inspector Charles Duelfer as well as in the various presumed forgeries described earlier in this section. But Coleman's report provided several new details. It also included information from interviews with former high-ranking officials now in U.S. custody, including former Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz and former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan. Among the claims is that there is new evidence to suggest that the Mariam Appeal, a children's leukemia charity founded by Galloway, was in fact used to conceal oil payments. The report cites Ramadan as saying in an interview that Galloway was allocated oil "because of his opinions about Iraq."

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Detail of contract M/12/14 (high-resolution version (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:M-12-14frag.jpg))

Socialist Worker Online [17] (http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/article.php4?article_id=6511) (also reproduced in the weekly printed publication) reported what they say is evidence that the key Iraqi oil ministry documents regarding oil allocations, in which Galloway's name appears six times (contracts M/08/35, M/09/23 [18] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Galloway_Evidence.jpg), M/10/38, M/11/04 [19] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Galloway_Evidence_2.jpg), M/12/14, M/13/48 [20] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Galloway_Evidence_4.jpg)) have been tampered with. They specifically refer to contract M/09/23 and allege that George Galloway's name appears to have been added in a different font and at a different angle to the rest of the text on that line. In these documents (relating to oil allocations 8-13), Galloway is among just a few people whose nationality is never identified, whilst Zuraykat is the only one whose nationality is identified in one instance but not in others.Template:NamedRef

Galloway response

On May 16, 2005, Galloway arrived in Washington DC to answer questions at a hearing of the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental AffairsTemplate:NamedRef. On his arrival in the US, he told Reuters "I have no expectation of justice from a group of Christian fundamentalist and Zionist activists under the chairmanship of a neo-con George Bush." Only four of the thirteen committee members attended the hearing, two of whom left before Galloway started his statement. [21] (http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=729078&section=news&src=rss/uk/topNews)

Galloway described the committee chairman, Minnesota Republican Norm Coleman, as a "pro-war, neo-con hawk and the lickspittle of George W. Bush" who, he said, sought revenge against anyone who did not support the invasion of Iraq.

In testimony before the Senate on May 17, 2005, Galloway made the following statements in rebuttal to the allegations against him [22] (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1616578,00.html):

  • "Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader. and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one - and neither has anyone on my behalf."
  • Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.

Galloway also criticised both the way the inquiry had been handled and the American government [23] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4557279.stm), saying:

  • I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is that Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defense made of his.

He questioned the reliability of evidence given by Taha Yassin Ramadan:

.. I do know that he's your prisoner. I believe he's in Abu Ghraib prison. I believe he is facing war crimes charges, punishable by death. In these circumstances, knowing what the world knows about how you treat prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, in Bagram Airbase, in Guantanamo Bay, including I may say, British citizens being held in those places. I'm not sure how much credibility anyone would put on anything you manage to get from a prisoner in those circumstances.

Galloway also pointed out a basic error in the report;

Now, one of the most serious of the mistakes you have made in this set of documents is, to be frank, such a schoolboy howler as to make a fool of the efforts that you have made. You assert on page 19, not once but twice, that the documents that you are referring to cover a different period in time from the documents covered by The Daily Telegraph which were a subject of a libel action won by me in the High Court in England late last year.

In fact the report documents referred to the same period as the presumed forgeries used by the Daily Telegraph.

A rumor which circulated on political blogs suggested that the subcommittee censored Mr. Galloway by removing his testimony from their website. [24] (http://hsgac.senate.gov/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.Detail&HearingID=232) In fact, the subcommittee website contained a hearing announcement, which included written statements submitted by witnesses prior to the hearing. Mr. Galloway had not submitted any such written statement at that time. The video of his testimony is available on the subcommittee website, and his remarks were included in the official record. The vnunet website, generally considered the source of the rumor, has since removed the article that contained the claim[25] (http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2135483/galloway-senate-testimony-pdf-goes-awol). The full transcript of Galloway's testimony can be read elsewhere. Template:NamedRef

Publishing activities

Asian Voice

Galloway has been involved in several publishing companies. He owned Asian Voice, which published a newspaper called East from 1996. An investigation by BBC Newsnight found that Galloway had secured payments of £60,000 and £135,000 from the Pakistani governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Galloway insisted this was for advertising space and bulk copies, but Newsnight alleged that it was for favourable coverage of Pakistan. He is currently one of two Directors of Finjan Ltd.; the other Director is his former wife.

Autobiography

His autobiography, I'm Not The Only One, was published on April 29, 2004. The book's title is a quotation from Imagine by John Lennon. Before its publication, current armed forces minister Adam Ingram claimed that Galloway had libelled him in its pages by describing how in his youth, Ingram had been a member of a "sectarian, anti-Catholic, Protestant-supremacist Orange Order band". Ingram's legal bid to prevent publication of the book failed. [26] (http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=818&id=476962004)

Friction

In May 2005 he launched a new publishing house, Friction, an imprint that will publish "books that burn, books that cause controversy and get people talking". The publishing house's second book is to be The Battle for Bethnal Green, by Mr Galloway and his friend Ron McKay, which will include a chapter on his trip to Washington. Template:NamedRef

Notes

External links

General

  • RESPECT (http://www.respectcoalition.com/). Official party website.

Articles and news reports

US Congressional testimony & related

Parliamentary activity

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